July 6, 2016
“Finding your passion” is a popular topic amongst our generation. We set out from college trying to find it, and if we don’t, we keep trying until we do. But I think the problem for many of us is we don’t even know where to start.
You see, compared to our grandparent’s generation, this idea of finding your passion for work is a new concept. Our grandparents would find a job, work hard at it, and most likely stay with that one company until it was time to retire.
This is certainly an admirable way of life and there are many lessons we can learn from them (which we will discuss a few in this blog post), but the world has changed since then. It’s easier to travel to different cities you always dreamed of exploring and there are more career opportunities available (mostly due to the internet).
However, before we get into finding your passion, I think it’s equally as important to address a few issues where people can go wrong when trying to find their passion.
First, you have heard, “love what you do and never work a day in your life.” While this is important and we should find something we enjoy, I want to make sure that people have realistic expectations for what a job actually is.
Even if you find your dream job, there will be days where you don’t love it. Don’t mistake this for needing a new job. You will be disappointed when you switch jobs, only to find yourself in the same dilemma. Every job, even one that you love, will have rough days. This is where our grandparent’s discipline comes in. Work hard through these times and know it’s a part of life.
Second, if you don’t find your passion right away, you may have to create your passion. I’m a big believer in this, as it perfectly describes what I went through, as well as many of my friends. I believe most people fall into this category. This idea also comes from older generations.
Some would argue that if you commit to the specific trade and try to master it, it will turn into your passion. The truth is, we may not all be able to teach English in a third world country while living comfortably and being able to paint every night while watching the sunset.
Now I gave you advice you didn’t ask for from your grandparents, I’d like to share with you some expert tips from hiring experts on how they suggest finding your passion. Your passion is your calling and your aha! moment that sets you off on your path to life. It’s what gives you excitement and makes you feel alive.
Explore as many fields options as possible.
Ashlyn from Worthington Industries recommends taking classes outside of your major to gain experience in other fields. She adds, “I would also recommend taking on as many internship and volunteering opportunities as you can. This will broaden your horizons and get you exposure to different types of work. Read as much as you can to learn about different paths you can take, but be sure to get hands-on experience as well.” Full Quote
What do you daydream about?
Charlene from Gap says, “Think about where your head is most of the time, what are you thinking about, when you are not stressed and ‘daydreaming’ where is your head? These are often things where your passion lies.” Full Quote
Rather than interests you have, think about skills.
Instead of trying to find the dream company, try to pay attention to what skills you posses and enjoy doing, and find a company where you can practice these skills.
Charlene asks, “Do you like solving problems, are you innovative, do you like helping others, is there a specific place you frequent or enjoy, a specific type of environment that you enjoy?” Full Quote
As you can see, if you like solving problems and helping others, you can do that with many different organizations.
You should explore your passions, but do so with a career in mind.
When it’s time to take the advice above and explore different internships, classes, etc., you should always keep some type of career in mind.
“If your passion is ‘underwater basket weaving’ absolutely pursue that but you must take a realistic look at the situation and understand that there may not be a healthy job market for that profession and majoring in that may put you at a disadvantage in your job hunt post college,” says Nell from Pitney Bowes. Full Quote
You can pursue your passions and things that fuel your soul, but always have a back-up plan and a realistic look at what careers would look like in that field. Nell suggests going to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for an outlook on your career (link).
Finding your passion is something that looks different for everyone. For many, they don’t find it until a few years into their career; so don’t be discouraged if you’re not passionate about what you are doing from the get-go. Be creative and good luck!